Kyle Clarke was given credit for the game-winner created off a confusing goal-mouth scramble at the 12:15-mark of the second period and Gianluca Baggetta shut the door the rest of the way as the North York Rangers edged the Newmarket Hurricanes 1-0 on Sunday.
Baggetta made 30 saves for his third shutout of the season, matching in nine starts the total he earned through 45 appearances last year.
Despite the victory, North York head coach Brent Hughes was not satisfied with his club’s effort over the 60 minutes.
“It was not exactly a coach’s dream win,” said Hughes.
“I was very disappointed with our first half of the game, we decided to start playing like a team toward the end of the second and in the third. The line of Nick Zanette, Louis Kereakou, and Kyle Clarke kind of put the team on their shoulders, and said “we’ll go out and play for you guys”. Baggetta obviously shut the door and we’ll take two points, but I’m definitely not happy with the overall team effort today.”
The hard-shooting Zanette came the closest to scoring mid-way through the first period when his quick snap shot from the slot beat Newmarket goaltender Dalton Ewing, but not the cross bar.
It was an opening frame in which the Rangers were completely out-worked, and they were outshot 17-6 as a result.
The club settled down mid-way through the second, however, and a simple power move by Clarke to take the puck to the front of the net caused Ewing to bobble the puck, and then let it dribble over the goal line.
Newmarket’s Ryan Young hit the post on a long screened wrister from the right half-wall with 11 minutes remaining on the clock, but that was as close as the reeling Hurricanes got.
“I think the positive was that we were facing a team that normally sits back, with low goals for and against, that plays the trap system, that we kind of took that away from them,” said Hughes.
“We got a lead, forced them to be more aggressive and I don’t think that’s their game. At the end of the day, we got them to adjust to us, and that was the difference today.”
North York has now won five in a row, and has not lost in regulation since Sept. 22, a span of nine games. On the flip side, Newmarket dropped its fifth-straight contest.
The victory earned the Rangers an Honourable Mention in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20 National Rankings, released Oct. 19.
North York are back in action next Saturday when it travels to Orangeville to take on the Flyers; puck drops at Alder Street at 7 p.m.